Same again Spurs

Premier League
Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Spurs started where they began last season - with victory over Newcastle on Tyneside.

But the side that finished third in the Premier League last term showed only glimpses of the form that has kept them in the top four for three consecutive campaigns,

Despite most of their World Cup big guns being named unexpectedly in the starting line-up, the Londoners often gave the ball away needlessly and some of their star names looked out of sorts after their summer exertions in Russia.

World Cup Golden Boot winner Harry Kane scarcely had a sniff of goal, although some of his link-up play was commendable.

But everyone knows he never scores in August anyway.

His manager Mauricio Pochettino was unconcerned though, insisting: “He is in his best form whether he scores or doesn't score. He worked a lot for the team and I'm sure that he's going to score. But he can't score three goals in every game."

Dele Ali, who scored the decider, showcased some of his famous skill, but found himself the constant butt of the Newcastle faithful who recalled Jonjo Shelvey’s dismissal in the corresponding fixture last season for stamping on the England man.

The match opened at a furious pace and Jan Vertonghen, looking composed and fresh despite his World Cup efforts for Belgium, popped up after eight minutes to head Spurs into the lead off the underside of the bar, although it required goalline technology to confirm the goal.

Spurs, missing England duo Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose, found themselves pegged back within two and a half minutes when the unmarked Joselu headed in Matt Ritchie’s wonderful cross from six yards.

It took just seven minutes for Spurs to regain the lead.

Serge Aurier’s cross was met by Ali who headed into the ground and past Martin Dubravka.

Newcastle, whose four new signings, Ki Sung-yueng, Fabian Schar, Salomon Rondon and Yoshinori Muto, all started on the bench, began to trouble Spurs and Ciaran Clark flashed an effort across the face of the visitors’ goal with no one on hand to meet it.

And Brazilian Kenedy, on a second season-long loan from Chelsea, missed a glorious opportunity to level.

Mohamed Diame struck a post and substitute Rondon, on loan from relegated West Bromwich Albion, hit the bar.

The ever-dangerous Ayoze Perez, brought a great save from Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, following a goalmouth scramble, while at the other end Dubravka, whose kicking throughout had been poor, denied former Magpies’ player Moussa Sissoko from 12 yards.

Pochettino said: "To connect everything and start to mould the machine again was a massive challenge for everyone.

"The effort from the players was massive, it is not easy to provide them a good holiday and rest.

"I am happy in the way the players arrived after the holidays, and Dele [Alli] was one of them. He has been strong and focused and he has shown good quality today.

"It is important to be strong from the beginning and have belief and convey a positive message. The staff and the players need to stay together and the most important thing is the fans in a difficult time because we are going to move to a new stadium."

Newcastle manager Said: "I think we deserved more. The team worked hard against a very good side. We conceded and reacted well, and then went a goal behind again and showed good fight."

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